A global showcase of local talent

Chef Ram triumphs the 2018 Philippine Culinary Cup

Cooking is about focusing your passion and creativity into a piece of edible art that delights the heart of people. Filipinos’ talent in the culinary arts is exceptional because of the number of reputable culinary schools in the country. Last August 1-4, a number of chefs from various institutions competed on the most prestigious culinary competition in the country, the Philippine Culinary Cup (PCC). PCC displayed exemplary skills and creativity of Filipino chefs in both pastry and savory categories.

In the Local Fish Category, Chef John Rafael “Ram” Santiago, III from Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy won a Gold Medal for his entry – Sautéed Grouper Fillet with Dehydrated Capers, Oyster Buerre Blanc and Crab Fat Oil. It showcased the goodness of our local fish Lapu-Lapu and Duru Bulgur was a very special ingredient in this French and Italian-inspired dish.

Global Academy was supportive of him and pushed him through his limits. At first, Chef Ram’s mentors were hesitant to use Duru Bulgur in the recipe, but he was sure that the perfect texture and earthy flavor of Duru Bulgur will set his dish apart from the other competitors.

After a month and a half of perfecting the dish, his coaches were amazed with the outstanding texture and natural flavor Duru Bulgur gives. He cooked it using the pilaf method. He infused Duru Bulgur with more flavor by adding aromatics and boiling it in clam and chicken broth. This made the wheat even more flavorful. Duru Bulgur is a traditional food from Turkey and across Europe. It contains a high amount of fiber, folic acid, vitamins, and minerals. It has a low glycemic index, making it the perfect healthy substitute to rice – a staple to the Filipino diet

The young Ram did not dream of being a chef. At the age of 17, he failed to enroll in an aviation school to become a pilot. However, this did not stop him from finding the right career path for him. After digging deeper into his interests, he realized how much he loved cooking.

His interest with cooking sparked at a young age when he and his grandmother cooked lutong bahay for the family. In fact, his first dish was the traditional Filipino favorite, Adobo. His grandmother even taught this little boy how to fabricate or clean a fish.

Since then, he continued to hone his creativity by translating his passion into food. He has since grown into an adventurous chef who finds joy in exploring non-traditional ingredients. His eleven years of experience in restaurants truly shaped him into a world class talent – proudly Filipino!